Meet Bobby’s mum, Daisy, a female dairy cow. Just like Bobby, she was taken away from her mum too. Then, at just 7 weeks old, she endured the disbudding of her horns. This common procedure, undertaken to stop her horns growing, involved removing her horn-buds with a hot iron scoop. This was very painful for Daisy, especially as she was given no pain relief during this ordeal.
At 18 months, Daisy was considered ready to serve the dairy industry. Having a baby, of course, was the only way for her to produce milk, so Daisy was artificially impregnated. 9 months later she gave birth to a son, Bobby. Unfortunately, Bobby was taken from Daisy within hours of his birth. As cows are deeply maternal, Daisy cried out for her son for days, but the cry was not returned. He’d gone, and the milk that nature intended for her tiny calf was instead taken for human consumption. The following year, Daisy was again impregnated to ensure that her milk supplies continued and once more she was subjected to the pain of immediate separation from her calf after giving birth.
One year, Daisy contracted the condition mastitis, which as any breastfeeding mother who has suffered this condition knows, is extremely painful. Daisy’s teats became inflamed, her udder became hard, red and swollen, causing her distress. The infection on that occasion was treated with antibiotics, but the next time the farmer didn’t notice her mastitis until her milk had become watery and contained blood clots and pus.
Shortly after her giving birth to her fifth calf, Daisy’s milk production began to decline. Although the natural life span of a cow is 20 years, she was considered ‘spent’ at just six. No longer valuable, Daisy was then crammed onto a truck destined for the saleyard. The next journey was to the slaughter yard and by now she was scared, hungry, thirsty, and broken. She cried out for help, but no-one came until it was time to end her miserable life.
As for Daisy’s fifth calf, it was a girl, destined to endure the same cycle of misery as her mum. The suffering of dairy cows is not necessary in a compassionate world. All dairy mums like Daisy and her daughter miss out on leading a good, long life, but you won’t miss out on anything by ditching dairy.